(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – A long awaited opinion regarding the conduct of former Lyon County manager Dennis Stark has been published by the state Ethics Commission.
Stark appeared before the commission on an ethics matter in November 2010 and January 2011, and had been waiting for a published opinion in his case. Stark was found at the hearing to have committed one willful ethics violation.
In a Nevada News Bureau story highlighting his case in November 2011, Stark said he wants to appeal the Ethics Commission decision but could not do so without the published opinion. Not having a resolution to his case has made it difficult for him to find a new job, he said.
Stark could not be reached today for comment on the publishing of the decision in his case.
Stark’s case was just one of about 60 backlogged opinions that had not been published because of staff limitations at the Ethics Commission.
The publication of the Stark opinion coincided with Ethics Commission representatives appearing before the state Board of Examiners today for approval of a $65,000 contract with an attorney to eliminate the backlog.
The board, made up of Gov. Brian Sandoval, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and Secretary of State Ross Miller, approved the contract with JMB Consulting after previously supporting a request by the agency to seek money from a legislative contingency fund to hire an attorney to erase the backlog.
Attorney Janette Bloom, operating as JMB Consulting, was hired on a temporary contract through June 30 to get the opinions published.
Ethics Commission Chairman Erik Beyer said the commission is working to find ways to ensure the backlog does not continue into the future.
“I think we’re already implementing some streamlining of the preparation of the opinions,” he told the board. “I am convinced that once this is behind us that we will be able to catch up and stay on track.”
Ethics Commission Executive Director Caren Jenkins said the contract with Bloom is based on her eliminating the entire backlog.
The Stark matter involved allegations that he used his position as the county manager to influence matters affecting the county library system’s budget to save his wife’s job with the library.
The commission determined that Stark violated the state ethics laws by initiating and participating in a private meeting with a library board member to discuss matters affecting his wife’s employment. He was fined $1,000.
Stark has called the infraction minor and the result of fabricated testimony.